"Try to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences and lose the grace of God. "

Thomas á Kempis

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"Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise. "

Thomas á Kempis

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"Let persons in the world sanctify themselves in their own houses, for neither the court, professions, or labour, are any hindrance to the service of God."

St Philip Neri

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Blessed John of Rusybroeck   (1293-1381)

 

THE ADORNMENT OF THE SPIRITUAL MARRIAGE (cont)

 

by Blessed John of Rusybroeck

 

THE FIRST BOOK

19. Of Generosity


From this compassion springs generosity; for none can be generous in a supernatural way, with faithfulness and goodwill towards all, save him who has a pitiful heart—though a man may often show generosity to a particular person without charity and without supernatural generosity.

Generosity is a liberal flowing forth of the heart which has been touched by charity and pity. When a man considers with compassion the sufferings and the sorrows of Christ, therefrom springs generosity; which makes him offer to Christ, for His pains and for His love, praise and thanks, worship and adoration, with a joyful and humble surrender of body and soul, in time and in eternity.

If a man considers himself with compassion, and has pity on himself, and thinks upon the good which God has done to him, and his own failings: then he must pour himself forth into the generosity of God, taking refuge in His faithfulness and His mercy, turning to Him with trust and with a perfect and free intention to serve Him for evermore.

And the generous man who sees the errors and disorders of others, and their unrighteousness, beseeches and prays God, with ardent faith, that He will let His Divine gifts flow forth, that He will show His generosity to all men, and they may know Him and turn to the Truth. The generous man also marks with compassion the bodily needs of all men, and he serves, and he gives, and he lends, and he consoles everyone, according to the needs of each, in so far as he is able, with prudent discretion.

Because of this generosity men are wont to practise the seven works of mercy; the rich do them by their alms and because of their riches, the poor by their good-will and by their hearty desire to do as the rich if they could. And thus the virtue of generosity is made perfect.

By generosity of heart all other virtues are increased, and all the powers of the soul are adorned; for the generous man is always blithe in spirit and untroubled of heart, and he flows forth with desire and in his works of virtue, to all men in common. Whosoever is generous, and loves not earthly goods how poor soever he be, he is like God: for all that he has in himself, and all that he feels, flow forth and are given away. And in this way he has cast out the fourth mortal sin, which is covetousness or Avarice. Of all such Christ says: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy in that day when they shall hear these words: Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you—because of your mercy,—from the foundation of the world.
 

20. Of Zeal and Diligence


Out of this generosity there spring a supernatural zeal and diligence in all virtues and all that is seemly. And none can feel this zeal save him who overflows with generosity. It is an inward restless striving after every virtue, after the likeness of Christ and of all His saints. In this zeal a man longs to devote his heart and his senses, his soul and his body, and all that he is, and all that he has and all toward which he aspires, to the glory and praise of God.

This zeal makes a man grow in reason and prudence, and practise the virtues, both of soul and of body, in righteousness. Through this supernatural zeal all the powers of the soul are laid open to God, and are made ready for all virtues. And the conscience rejoices, and the grace of God is increased; the virtues are practised with joy and gladness, and the outward works are adorned.

Whosoever has received this living zeal from God has cast out the fifth mortal sin, which is indolence of the mind or Sloth, as regards the virtues which it is needful that we should practise. And sometimes, this living zeal also casts out the sloth and indolence of the natural body. Of all such Christ says: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled, and this shall come to pass when the glory of God shall be manifest to them, and shall fill them, each according to his love and righteousness.